Thrive by IU Health

January 17, 2024

Mentors help high school students explore healthcare

Mentors help high school students explore healthcare

Nurses, doctors, physical therapists often discover their career choice while in high school. But what about other aspects of healthcare? Here’s how some students are learning.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

On a recent weekday Adrian Carlos was not in a classroom at his local high school. He was taking part in a different kind of learning - at IU Health.

Carlos, a junior at Providence Cristo Rey High School is one of 25 “Corporate Work Study” (CWS) students working at IU Health. Located on South East Street, Providence Cristo Rey is a Catholic, coeducational high school that provides a college and career preparatory curriculum to students with economic need. As part of the students’ career preparation, all students spend one day a week working at more than 100 companies throughout Indianapolis.

Like all of the students, Carlos works in a non-clinical position at IU Health. He is assigned to Marcy Strine’s Continuing Education Team. Carlos recently posed with Strine, Michelle Goode-Kelley and Tanisha Driver.

“Adrian is helping our team with education events for our team members. He does clerical work, organizes program supplies, and helps the department move and label our storage room supplies,” said Strine. “Our goal is to have him plan an education event with our support. When time allows we are having him shadow different education programs for career exploration. One of his favorite experiences was with the Pharmacy Tech program. They did a skills lab with the students simulating making Chemotherapy. He has also shadowed radiology and respiratory therapy. When he started he stated he wanted to learn about careers in healthcare and now he wants to know more about careers in pharmacy. “

Carlos said his experience with IU Health has opened his eyes to various options outside of the clinical aspect. He said he is hoping to become the first in his family to attend college and is looking into potential work in law and medical patenting.

“IU Health became involved with this program to contribute to workforce diversity while creating a pipeline for future talent and developing a culture of community involvement among employees,” said Carmen Martin, Administrative Coordinator, Talent Acquisition. IU Health became a corporate sponsor for the second time about six years ago. This year, IU Health is the largest corporate sponsor with students working in 18 areas of the hospitals.

Some of those areas include guest relations, marketing, president administration, talent acquisition, and library services.

Martin, a former middle school teacher has taken her passion for learning into a different classroom - serving as one of the student mentors. Last year, she was named the school’s “Mentor of the Year.” Martin has been paired with her student, Merli Portillo for three years and has had a chance to see her grow into the work-study program.

“In her time with IU Health, Portillo has worked on her soft skills and has made significant growth in areas such as time management, confidence, self-motivation, and adaptability,” said Martin. Her work-study student also advanced in Microsoft Office and other business applications. Portillo spent time shadowing at Riley Hospital for Children, and the IU Health Pathology Laboratory, and toured the Simulation Center.

“Merli is gaining valuable insights into the workforce and developing her skills in areas such as communication and teamwork,” said Martin, who also volunteers to teach courses in Corporate Office Readiness & Enrichment (C.O.R.E.) training. “I always tell Merli a hospital is like a city in itself. It’s not just doctors and nurses. You have cooks, cleaners, marketing, finance and all sorts of jobs. It’s really opened her eyes.”

Portillo plans to become the first in her family to go to college and wants to study forensic science.

“As a former teacher, working with these students gives me great job satisfaction,” said Martin. “I’m extremely passionate about mentoring and watching them grow. It’s amazing to see these minds open to the endless opportunities that await them.”